Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day Six: Or Better Homes and Olympics

One of the annoying things about writing a blog is that you can write something like:
Women's 4x200m free relay: Australia a chance for a bronze. France and the USA to battle for gold.

And instead of it being forgotten, it's there for everyone to read and chuckle. Wow what a swim. The Gold of the games thus far... and I missed it. I was at work looking at the games' website and saw that it was in progress, but instead of rushing into my boss's office to watch, I decided there was no point as Australia was only "a chance for a bronze"!!! Then the page refreshes and I see they won in a WR time. Oh well at least I know I'll get to see it on Channel 7 at least 6 times tonight. [update - as of 10:50pm I have now seen it three times]

I've finally worked out why the 7 coverage is so terrible: they're only doing what they're best at. Their top rating show is Better Homes and Gardens - it even has Johanna Griggs and Tom Williams just like the Olympics. And in the tradition of such shows with a cooking segment, Channel 7 have decided the best way to cover the Olympics is by telling the viewers "here's one we prepared earlier".
My big fear with the coverage is that they'll stuff up the athletics. I already foresee them covering the women's long jump by showing Bronwyn Thompson's three jumps in succession, and then Bruce saying, unfortunately she didn't qualify for the final, and here is the Gold medal jump.

What they need to do is approach the game like the Oscars. Every year everyone knows the Oscars are delayed; so if you want to watch them you avoid the news and the internet that day and sit down at 7:30pm and pretend you're watching them live. Today for example the men's all-around gymnastics title was decided. Channel 7 should have advertised that they would be replaying the comp in full from say 8pm tonight, and thus whenever they had a recap they could say "look away know if you don't want to know the result". They would then show the event almost as background - ie if say a swimming heat was on they could cross to it, and then cross back to the gymnastics, ditto a rowing race. Then by 10:30pm when the women's hockey match started they viewers would have seen all of the events that mattered, as well as feeling like they had watched one of the most popular events of the games as though it was live - complete with all the tension and drama. Simple.

Unfortunately these games are being telecast for people who don't like sport, but like Michael Bolton music and slow-mo.

It's pretty sad that a sport's nut like me (and Olympic's fanatic) can't be bothered to stay up to watch Australia play a basketball match because I have no faith that Channel 7 will either show it live, or show all of it.

Anyway, I'll say no more about the coverage (aside from the odd snide comment) otherwise I'll be subsumed with bitterness (or more so!).
6:30pm: Bravo SBS showing a complete replay of the table tennis between Australia and China. Great watching. William Henzell of Australia played a fantastic match against the world's number 1. But I want to know when did they stop scoring up to 21?? Things have certainly changed since my triumphant days as the town mid-week C Grade table-tennis champion. (Does that sound as pathetic as it felt writing it??)
Due to watching that stupid video yesterday, I spent most of today walking around my office humming Melissa Tkautz's "Read My Lips". That is not a way to impress one's superiors.
Ok let's play pick the winner of the silver medal:

This is not to have a go at Eamon Sullivan, who handled his disappointment pretty well, and pointedly said in his post-swim interview that the best man on the day won. But it just shows how much expectations plays a part.

I remember at the Sydney Olympics, when Susie O'Neill won the 200m Freestyle she didn't get all that excited, in fact she almost shrugged her shoulders about it. Then after she unexpectedly came second in the 200m Butterfly she said if she had known she was going to lose that race she would have got more excited after winning the 200m Freestyle.

That said it would still be hard for the world record holder to come second in a time slower than he did in the semis. But that's racing. What would be more galling is the Channel 7 news beginning it's broadcast saying "Golden Girl Stephanie wins another Gold; while ex-boyfriend comes second".

And Brenton Rickard shows that just because you weren't expected to get a medal doesn't mean you won't. The Olympics are all about peaking at the right time - swimming your best time not just at the Games, but also in the final. Rickard did it, that's why he's smiling; Sullivan didn't, that's why he's not.
OK one more rant - why do we need to see a 2 minute promo for "Yum Cha"? I saw the same promo 2 hours ago, and Matt White then as now said it's the show everyone is talking about; which is true, unfortunately everyone is talking about how crap it is - this blog at the Advertiser's webs tie is a good example of general opinion.
7:56pm: After all I have said about sports with judging, I have to say I'm a big fan of the men's gymnastics. These guys are amazing athletes. And because their events aren't based so much on grace and poise, even a novice can pretty much see who is the best.

My favourite gymnast was the Russian Alexei Nemov, who won gold in the all-around in Sydney. I would provide a link to some of his stuff on you-tube, but when I looked they were full of titles like "Alexei Nemov Too Sexy" and "They don't call him sexy Alexei for nothing" and decided that maybe I should refrain from pointing out I have a favourite male gymnast.
Tomorrow the athletics starts. The men's 100m heats and women's 800m heats are the highlights of the morning. Just had a look, and in the 800m, the first 3 plus the next fastest 6 get through to the semi finals (of which there are 3) so I'll amend my prediction of yesterday and say Tamsyn Lewis should get to the semi finals (though she only has the 4th fastest season best in her heat).

Kylie Wheeler is in the heptathlon, and I hoep she does well, every time I see her interviewed she seems a nice person. The heptathlon us a tough event to cover though, so it'll be interesting to see how 7 does it.

Tomorrow night the men's 1500m heats and the second round of the 100m are highlights, but also the women's 300m steeplechase heats are on - first time ever in the Olympics - with Australia's Donna Macfarlane. She is the 5th fastest this year, so a big medal chance.

The first gold event is the men's shot put. Let's hope it goers to someone who hasn't been done for drugs. [Update - I forgot about Australi's Scott Martin #6 in the world this year. Big chance for a medal. I can't recall an Aussie ever getting a medal in one of the throwing events - think someone did back in 1952 for the javelin - but this would be a great start. Also Justin Anlezark is in, and if he can reproduce his best form he could make the final as well]

The women's 10,000m - the last event of the night will be won by Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia - put your house, my house, your neighbour's house on it. (And Ethiopia to go 1,2,3).
Swimming finals:

  • Women's 200m breaststroke - Leisel Jones is at odds of $1.07 - so invest $1000 for a 7% return of $70 in one day (nb: this does not constitute financial advice, please consult your bank manager, loan shark or bookie before wagering money. Always bet responsibly).
  • Men's 200m Backstroke - Aaron Peirsol to do the double.
  • Men's 200m IM - Phelps again - look it's never going to happen again, so we might as well marvel.
  • Women's 100m Freestyle - Not sure what happened to Trickett in the semi - but would be a great win from lane 8.

On a side note - bet on an interest rate lowering on 3 September. An RBA Deputy Governor today said: "the RBA cannot wait to see a fall in inflation" before starting to cut rates". That's central banker speak for we are going to lower interest rates so get ready.

Whether the 4 banks will lower their rates by the same amount is not so guaranteed.
Anyhoo, enough for tonight - athletics tomorrow... the real start of the Games.
10:55pm: Like a fool I stayed up to watch the women's hockey. It has been going for 25 minutes (Australia are up 1-0). Has Channel 7 shown it? Of course not. Instead we're treated to the USA flogging Greece in the basketball. But the best thing about it? They even stuffed this up by cutting to some more swimming heats at a point when the USA was struggling. When we come back the USA was doing it easy (so much for tension).

But THE very best thing about it? Even the basketball game they are showing us isn't live - I'm looking at the website, and while Channel 7 would have us believe it is half time, in reality they're half way through the 3rd quarter. So they're not showing us a live hockey game involving Australia in order to show us a delayed basketball game not involving Australia, nor of any importance.

But they have shown us the women's 4x200m freestyle again. Because people stay up late to watch replays.

Channel 7? Shysters.

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